Sex Education star Ncuti Gatwa said he strained to keep the news secret – the one when he had been cast as the new star of Doctor Who. BBC revealed on Sunday that the 29-year-old actor would play in place of Jodie Whittaker for the series’ titular alien with two hearts.
“I’ve known since about February this year, so it’s been tricky trying to keep this under wraps because I’ve got a very big mouth,” said Gatwa in an interview with the BBC.
“It feels amazing; it feels really amazing. It’s a true honor, this role is an institution and is so iconic, and it means a lot to so many people, including myself, and so it means everyone feels seen as well so that everyone can enjoy it. So, I feel very grateful to have had the baton handed over, and I’m going to try to do my best.”
Gatwa, talking on the red carpet of the BAFTA TV Awards this year, was nominated in the Male Performance in a Comedy Programme category for his role in Sex Education.
When queried about how he will play the Doctor and if he would base his portrayal on any of the former versions of the time traveler, Gatwa responded, “I’m definitely going to do my own thing. I mean, they’re all amazing. You can’t pick. You cannot pick.”
New Doctor Who producer Russell T. Davies was also at the BAFTA on Sunday TV Awards, where his other show, It’s a Sin, received nominations for several awards categories.
“It was the most blazing audition,” stated Davies, elaborating the reason he had selected Gatwa to portray the Doctor. “It was our last audition. It was our very last one. We thought we had someone, and then he came and stole it.”
Whittaker’s leave from the role was revealed in July, with her last appearance airing later this year.
“I’ve shot my version of regen, and it was singularly the most emotional day on set I think I’ve ever had,” said Whittaker in an interview with EW last year.
“It’s a really bizarre feeling because it’s the best time I’ve ever had on a job, and I made the decision to leave it, so it’s a really strange thing to do to yourself. It feels like you’re giving yourself stitches – like, ‘Why have you done it?’
“But … it felt right. It was a wonderfully-celebratory-slash-grief-ridden day that I could spend with the family that I’d made. I suppose the best thing about it is that the episodes are still on. So, until they’re off, I don’t have to really get my head around the fact that it’s not my part!”
Doctor Who follows the adventure of a Time Lord called the Doctor – an extraterrestrial creature who looks like a human. He navigates the universe in a spaceship called TARDIS, which can do time travel.
The series has had multiple spin-offs – in comic books, films, novels, audio dramas, and television series – such as Torchwood (2006-2011), The Sarah Jane Adventures (2007-2011), K-9 (2009-2010), and Class (2016).